Sigmund Freud by: Maura Holden

Sigmund Freud was born in Freiburg, Czech Republic on May 6, 1856. Early in his career, Freud became greatly influenced by the work of his friend and Viennese colleague, Josef Breuer. He discovered that when he encouraged a hysterical patient to talk about the earliest occurrences of the symptoms, the symptoms sometimes gradually went away (Sigmund Freud). He battled oral cancer, he then requested a dose of morphine from his doctor. He committed suicide in England on September 23, 1939 at age 83 (Sigmund Freud).

Before Freud, poets and mystics examined the unconscious and irrational aspects of human behavior. Freud, believed that the unconscious mind is a basin of feelings, thoughts, urges and memories (Sigmund Freud) . Thinking about the analysis of dreams and of hysteria, he figured out that human behavior was irrational, lead by the unconscious. It influenced people's behavior, they were unaware of the source or meaning of their actions (A History of Western Society).

Freud describes three structures of the human body- the id, the ego, and the superego. Id was entirely unconscious. Id included sexual, aggressive, and pleasure seeking instincts. The superego, which kept the Id in check was also irrational. It was overly strict and puritanical, it was also conflicted with the Id (A History of Western Society). The ego, is the only rational component. It was most conscious and worked to negotiate between the demands of the id and the superego. In Freud's mind, the healthy individual possessed a strong ego that balanced the id and the superego. When these three structures were out of balance it resulted in neurosis, or mental illness (A History of Western Society). The id's were so powerful that it might affect individuals in a violent way. Freud had another idea that was, "taking cure". Neurotic patients lay back and share what they are thinking about with the psychoanalyst. This idea was to help resolve unconscious tensions and restore the rational ego to its predominant role. Like Nietzsche, he believed that the mechanism of rational thinking and traditional moral values could be too strong. In the book, Civilization and Its Discontents, he explained that civilization was only possible when people deny their irrational instincts so they can find peace in groups (A History of Western Society). This made communal life possible but overall led to unhappiness because it left basic instincts dissatisfied.

By 1910, Freudian psychology and clinical psychiatry had become an international movement. After World War II, it gained boundless popularity. (A History of Western Society).

During the mid-1920s, surrealist, Salvador DalĂ­ was deeply influenced by Freudian psychology and portrayed images of the unconscious in their art. He created the Oedipus complex, which is studied in the modern world. It is argued that no one has influenced the science of psychology more then Sigmund Freud (Sigmund Freud). He has also written about 24 other influential books in his works such as, The Interpretation of Dreams, where he explains the methods and results of dream- interpretation (Sigmund Freud). Editors . "Sigmund Freud." A&E Networks Television, 02 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <>.

McKay, John P. A History of Western Society. 11th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2014. Print.

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